Guwahati, May 8, 2019:
Reports suggest that the insurgent groups ULFA (I) and NDFB (S) might be on its last legs in Myanmar and the cadres stationed in Myanmar are desperate for the feel of familiar Assamese soil under their feet. It has also been alleged that ULFA (I) leader Paresh Baruah has orchestrated the deaths of youths who sought to return to Assam due to the ULFA’s ‘no return’ policy. Baruah, however, has categorically denied the reports and said that they were being punished for other crimes.
Reports reveal that the militants dwelling in the wilderness of Myanmar are facing severe problems after the Myanmar army (Tatmadaw) launched a crackdown against them and captured their camps and killed many senior leaders belonging to these outfits.
The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S) outfits have been hit hard with many cadres surrendering to the armed forces after re-entry into the homeland.
The recent developments have seen the rebel groups struggling hard to maintain their influence in the region and sources suggest that they are having to beg for rice from Naga villagers at the border simply to survive.
It may be added that ever since the Myanmar Army launched the offensive at the behest of the Indian Government, as many as twenty cadres belonging to the ULFA (I) and NDFB (S) have laid down their arms, which included the Foreign Secretary of the NDFB (S).
But crossing the border has proved a perilous task as the deserter have to pass through NSCN (K)-supporting Naga villages where some militants have been apprehended. Murmurs suggest that some were ‘executed’ due to their attempts to cross the border.
Another major issue faced by the groups is the lack of recruitment in recent times. Although they launched a major recruitment drive during the protests over the Citizenship Bill (January-March) and some fresh blood joined the rebels, Myanmar’s Tatmadaw launched its offensive soon after which has led to the current misfortune for these sovereignty-seeking rebels.